Whether Cesc stays or go, Wenger needs to re-examine as to who his captain should be next season.
The appointment of Cesc as with henry was on the basis that they were best players, so in trying to keep them longer they were given the captain’s armband. Much in the way that the best player in the playground is made captain so was Cesc.
Cesc is the talisman of the team, the fulcrum of all our moves, but is he really captain material? Does he inspire and drive his team-mates forward? When the going gets tough does he organise the team or does he merely let things take their natural course of events?
The man Wenger needs to appoint as captain is not van Persie or Nasri, both of whom have deputised for Cesc, but Vermaelen.
Vermaelen plays in the heart of the defence, he sees what is happening, he can organise the defenders and midfielders. When he plays he is constantly talking, communicating and leads by example. He never shirks a challenge, he throws himself in front of shots, and he is a good footballer.
Arsenal need a captain who would scream at the players if things are not going well, the captain needs to cajole players and inspire them. Vermaelen is the answer and Wenger needs to open his eye and appoint him captain.
During the summer Arsenal made one purchase, Thomas Vermaelen. A relatively unknown defender from Ajax, who according to most “experts”, was too short to make it in the Premier League. Many Arsenal fans were rightly concerned that instead of a burly centre half in the mould of Hangeland, instead of a speedy defender we acquired someone who is as fast as Senderos and we let Toure leave.
In several pre-season games, Vermaelen was proven to be short of speed, but he had other attributes and soon Arsenal fans once again happy to say in Arsene we trust.
Vermaelen is not one of the tallest centre backs, or the quickest, but he has a brain. The Belgium captain anticipates where the ball is going to go so he is first to the ball. He waits and waits before he commits a challenge and nicks the ball away from he attacker.
So Vermaelen has proven to everyone that he can defend, but Vermaelen is not just a defender. He is the most comfortable defender on the ball that the Premier League has seen for years. He does not panic when he has the ball, he merely looks up a plays a ball as good as any midfielder in the country.
Then we have goals. You will always expect a defender to score headers at set pieces, but over the last few seasons both Toure and Gallas never scored as many set piece goals as you would want. But the goals that have made people stand up and pay attention were the two left foot strikes against Wigan and Blackburn (correction). Both goals came not from set pieces, but because Vermaelen went forward and kept going forward resulting in two left strikes from outside the area that any striker would envy.
It is early days, but Vermaelen appears to be a great acquisition by Wenger. People talk about what will happen when Song goes to Africa for the Africa Cup of Nations, well if Senderos gets some games and plays well, why not use Vermaelen as the holding midfielder!
The focus today is Francophone players.
France Football’s Phillipe Auclair stated that Arsenal are close to signing Chamakh from Bordeaux. Auclair is a respected journalist and knows quite a bit about Arsene’s France based dealings. If Phillipe Auclair claims Arsenal are close to signing Marouane Chamakh, then that is more credible than a lot of the UK newspaper back pages.
If Chamakh signs, then Adebayor’s departure will be announced soon. Chamakh is 25 years, 6 foot 2 inches tall, great in the air, fast and skillful. He has 50 caps for Morocco and has scored 15 goals for the national team. The Moroccan striker scored 13 goals last season as the Girondins won the title.
Chamakh said earlier this summer “I have heard about the Arsenal rumours. But my agent does not want to talk to me about them so that I stay focused until the end of the season,” Chamakh also said “I want to play in the Premier League and a club like Arsenal would be a dream. If they were to come calling, I would certainly give them a positive answer. But there is nothing concrete at the moment.”
Arsene Wenger said “Chamakh is a very good player but that does not mean I have called him.”
The other player are rumoured to be talking to is Newcastle’s Sebastien Bassong. The player has stated that he is in talks with two English Premier teams. One is believed to be Tottenham, whilst Arsenal are though to be the other. If Arsenal are serious about Bassong, then unless we offer silly wages, he will choose Arsenal over Tottenham. Bassong is 22 years old but is highly rated in France and by Wenger.
This second rumour is still a rumour, whilst the Chamakh story is a real story.
Arsenal’s first signing, Thomas Vermaelen will be confirmed tomorrow or over the weekend as the Belgium defender is due to have a medical tomorrow.
Every fan looks anxiously at the transfer window and starts to wonder who we will sign, when will we sign anyone and who is leaving the club. For Arsenal fans this is more relevant this summer. We know from the rumblings around the dressing room, the stands and even in the board-room, that a failure to win something this season will see top players leave next summer and Arsene’s future will definitely be brought into question.
Arsenal are always linked with numerous players, but in all honesty we are not too many players away from challenging for the major honours. Arsene’s problem is raising funds through sales and yet being able to strengthen the squad at the same time. Arshavin was purchased in January and he probably came out of this summer’s budget.
There is no doubt that Gallas and Toure will not be at the club together next season. One will definitely leave. My money is on Toure leaving to go to Manchester City for £14 million, unless Arsene will use Kolo’s presence to lure his brother to the club, in which case it will be Gallas going to PSG for £3 million or part of the Sakho deal. Wenger is already looking at selling Senderos for £6 million and Eboue could be bound for foreign shores for a fee of around £5 million. Arsene will also be look at moving either Denilson or Song. Either player would fetch in the region of £8 million, in addition I expect Mark Randall to move this summer. Arsene has seen Gibbs play well this season and this could be the incentive for the boss to sell Armand Traore, even to Spurs for a fee of around £6 million. The big one is Adebayor. Our favourite last summer, but the player we all want out following some lackadaisical displays. AC Milan are definitely a team that are interested or they were last season. I doubt Barcelona will be interested any more, so we again are limited in avenue to dispose of the Togolese striker, at any rate we need to be looking at £20 million for the player.
Arsene could raise any where from £28 million (excluding Adebayor and Toure) up to £59 million (including Adebayor and Toure but not Gallas). This will be a major transfer budget and would not necessarily weaken the squad. Wenger will be able to pursue four players that will make the difference.
Arsenal have reportedly agreed a £10 million deal with Thomas Vermaelen. Unless this is a great hoax, then the Belgium striker will be part of a new look Arsenal defence. To follow Vermaelen will be Fulham’s Brede Hangeland for a fee of £15 million. Brede claimed in the initial furore that he is happy at Fulham, but since then all has gone quiet, there is no talk of a bid or of a new contract for Hangeland. These two will form the basis of our central defensive partnership, with Djourou and Gallas / Toure to be used as back-up.
In central midfield, everyone’s favourite is Yaya Toure. A deal was almost done last summer, but the board scuppered the deal with a refusal to offer Yaya a decent salary. This could be the stumbling block this summer, plus if Arsene wishes to sell his brother, the offer will be less attractive to Yaya. If Wenger went for Yaya Toure this will set him back at least £16 million, an alternative and one that I am touting if nobody else is is Real Madrid’s Mahamadou Diarra and he could be available for £10 million.
With the departure of Adebayor, Wenger cold decide he has enough firepower with van Persie, Eduardo, Vela, Bendtner, Walcott and Arshavin. In reality we know that we need another striker. We have two options either Klaas-Jan Huntelaar or Edin Dzeko. Either will give us the goals that we desire and either will cost around £16 million.
With these movements in the market, Arsene will have strong squad for next season:
GK Almunia; Fabianski
Def Sagna; Song; Clichy; Gibbs; Toure; Djourou; Vermaelen; Hangeland;
Mid Fabregas; Diarra; Diaby; Wilshere; Ramsey; Arshavin; Nasri; Rosicky; Walcott
Att van Persie; Eduardo; Huntelaar; Bendtner; Vela